AN exhibition celebrating ‘Creative Women in the Abergavenny Area" was held last weekend at the Abergavenny Community Centre.

This exhibition was a snapshot of the work made by women from the local area and was inspired by the current exhibition at the Abergavenny Museum "Monmouthshire Women Making Change" which tells the story of women in this area over the last hundred years and illustrates their involvement and activities in the local community and beyond.

Among other interesting women, the Museum Exhibition celebrated Agnes Beverly Burton, who founded the Abergavenny Art Group in 1937 to provide opportunities for young people to pursue art after leaving school.

This celebration was co-ordinated by two local women Barbara Crow and Katrina Gass who wanted to create an opportunity for local women to share their talents in a community setting.

Women’s creative work has, traditionally, been largely concerned with home, family and community - making clothing, artefacts for the home, joining in community ventures to make quilts and banners. Generally, though, with some fine exceptions such as Gwen John, men were the ones who became the ’professional’ artists, working and achieving recognition beyond the home. Social attitudes and opportunities made it more difficult for women artists to establish themselves.

“Today women have more choice. Many find creative outlets during the period of raising a family extending the tradition of making clothing into creative textile work.

“Some take art school courses whilst others will take up some artistic expressive work at a later stage in life or when they retire. In this exhibition there was work made by women for many different purposes and at varying stages of their lives. Some earn their living, at least in part, by the work they make, whilst others regard it as an activity which allows them to express themselves creatively,”?said Katrina.

The display included paintings, prints, 3D work, sculpture, furniture, glasswork, ceramics and textiles of individual women and also a room of exhibits and demonstrations of the work of several community groups including Papillon, Craftywomen, Stitch Together, Cibi Quilters, ACE Art Group and MCC Art Class

The Exhibition was well attended and visitors enjoyed the work of over 40 individual local artists and fascinating displays and demonstrations by seven community based creative groups sharing their various skills - knitting, quilting, creative sewing and painting. An excellent cafe run by Marion Pearse served tasty lunches.

Katrina, one of the Creative Women Team said " We have been delighted with the response we received from local women who were willing to exhibit their creations both paintings and 3D. Visitors were very enthusiastic in their comments and seemed very impressed by the quality and range of exhibits and demonstrations. The overwhelming view was that this Exhibition should be repeated in future years. So we are on the look out for volunteers to get involved with planning another!"

•Mayor and Mayoress of Abergavenny, Councillors Dave and Penny Simcock meet members of the Creative Women team (Picture by Cath?Barton)